This week: I moved into a new age category, touched a dog, and made a clothing faux pas!
We had plans to stay with my parents on Saturday night and the packing took longer than anticipated. So the journey to the fortieth Riddlesdown parkrun started with a panic-drive along the M25 (within the speed limit of course). We still arrived with enough time to perform the pre-run rituals, and I arrived at the start line just in time to listen to the announcements.
|pre-run bits and pieces [photo: Cameron]
I left the ladies at race HQ and proceeded to warm-up during the walk/jog to the start line. I still have a thing about starting from the back of the pack, which I did again this week.
The official photographers for the day were Cameron and Nicki - Thanks for helping to brighten up these blog posts again!
|Steve's back [photo: Nicki]
The first kilometre was mostly spent chatting to Graeme, who I hadn't seen for a number of weeks, returning after a short spell of rest following an injury. According to my GPS data, we reached the first kilometre point a lot quicker than it felt. I said farewell (or something like that) and pushed on.
The first part of the second kilometre was largely chat-free. A few words here and there as I caught up with my fellow parkrunners, but again I pushed on. Towards the end of this section I caught up with Carlos, who was kind enough to point out my clothing faux pas - I had opted to wear my England football shirt on St. Patrick's day! I had spent months avoiding wearing that top in order to avoid picking a bad day and causing offence, then look what I went and did! The reason I ended up wearing it was that the weather forecast had predicted heavy rain. I needed a short-sleeved shirt over a long-sleeved shirt in order to offer some protection to my phone (which doubles as my GPS wotsit) in case the rain arrived mid-run. I opted for the England shirt because it is red and matched the red long-sleeved shirt I had on underneath.
|Catching up to Carlos [photo: Cameron]
At 3 kilometres I left Carlos in order to 'see who I can catch' - which wasn't that successful as I only managed to pass two more people. Which is actually fine because it would have been silly for me to push any harder and to risk undoing all the lovely healing that has been going on lately.
During the last kilometre I developed something that felt like a stitch (it was probably a stitch) and after crossing the line (22:10) I kept walking. It took a good few minutes for the pain to go away, but once it had I was happy to chat away about all things running with whoever was prepared to listen. A dog even came to say hello, which I attempted to stroke and it ended up more like me prodding the dog's back.
|Red top and black shorts - the most popular colour combo at parkrun? [photo: Cameron]
I must remember to take my gloves off after the run because the position barcode keeps slipping out of my hand - It's the second week in a row that I've almost lost it in between the finishing line and the registration table. Nicki will not be pleased if I do lose one of them.
Once everyone had assembled in the pub, we had some banana cake - homemade by the wonderful Mrs7t. It was to celebrate the occasion of my 35th birthday (which was a few days earlier) and my entry into the SM35-39 age category. During the 'guess Steve's age' competition, serial volunteer and occasional race director Morgan guessed that I had just turned 25 - I'm taking that as a compliment, thanks Morgan.
|The Ladies [photo: Nicki]
The results followed soon after, and as the conditions were very good, 30 runners got themselves new personal bests (49.1% of the field).